Gmail is ready to tackle Microsoft Outlook, analysts
Google’s Gmail service is finally mature enough to challenge Microsoft’s Exchange Online and other online email services, according to analysts Gartner.
Five years after it launched, Google’s Gmail for business is finally ready to worry Microsoft, according to leading analysts at Gartner.
The verdict, announced in advance of a summit Gartner is holding in London tomorrow, cites Gmail’s growing influence, with more than 5,000 major contracts with businesses.
Cloud-based email is claimed to be more secure and easier to access remotely than traditional email, which is typically run through a server owned and stored at a company’s premises.
Microsoft has recently launched Office 365, its own cloud-based version of its popular Exchange email server. At the time, commentators suggested that the Windows maker had held off launching such a product until there was a credible threat from Google.
"The road to its enterprise enlightenment has been long and bumpy, but Gmail should now be considered a mainstream cloud email supplier," said Matthew Cain, research vice president at Gartner. "While Gmail's enterprise email market share currently hovers around one per cent, it has close to half of the market for enterprise cloud email.”
Mr Cain conceded that cloud email still only accounts for less that four per cent of the overall enterprise email market, but said it was likely to be more than half the market by 2020. He also said that only Google and Microsoft were currently in a position to provide cloud-based business email services.
Rivals, including Novell GroupWise and IBM Lotus Notes/Domino, have lost market momentum, Gartner said, noting that network giant Cisco closed its cloud email effort.
Google, however, continues to be resistant to feature requests that would be applicable to only a small segment of its customers, Gartner said. Banks, for example, may require surveillance capabilities that Google is unlikely to build into Gmail because the company is seeking mass adoption.
"The intense competition between Microsoft and Google will make both vendors stronger and enable them to apply cloud expertise to other enterprise cloud endeavours," Mr Cain said.